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Ekaterina Velkova ’07: AUBG Is the Best University in the Region

The late Anna Tchaprachikoff’s legacy lives on through more than just the generous bequest she left to AUBG. Like their benefactor, Tchaprachikoff scholars are committed to making a difference in the world. This is especially true of Ekaterina Velkova, who since her graduation in 2007 has helped establish a senior citizens hospice in Bulgaria, undertaken volunteer projects in Nigeria, and worked toward advancing international cooperation through the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 2010, Velkova’s excellent academic and professional credentials earned her a Tchaprachikoff scholarship from AUBG to pursue a master’s degree at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

“AUBG takes care of its students even after they graduate, and the Anna Tchaprachikoff scholarship is a testament to this commitment,” Velkova says.

Personal attention and support have characterized Velkova’s entire AUBG experience. Above all else, she values the “personalized teaching methods and the heightened individual-centered approach.” “AUBG professors were genuinely interested in open and friendly discussions and were always available for additional advice and consultations,” Velkova says.

The university continued to be a source of support well beyond her stay in Blagoevgrad: While writing her MA thesis, she made continuous use of the university’s research resources and former professors’ help and advice. 

“When I received an admissions offer from SIPA, I knew that this would not have been possible without my constructive undergraduate training, and the help and support of the faculty throughout my undergraduate studies and even after graduation,” she says.

A person of profound intellectual curiosity, Velkova also found in AUBG a place where she could reconcile her many interests. “I have been vacillating between my aspiration for a purely academic research-oriented profession, and my desire to make a difference in the real-life arena,” she admits. By pursuing a double major in Political Science and International Relations and English and Literature at AUBG, she satisfied both her love for analytical writing and her interest in international affairs.

“My liberal arts education provided numerous possibilities, and gave me the time I needed to figure out what my career path would be,” Velkova says. “The generous choice of courses matching the disparate interests of every student expands horizons. This ‘taste of everything’ from philosophy to jazz history beyond developing the cultural palate, trains our ability to think ‘out of the box.’”

Before coming to AUBG, Velkova studied law in the Sorbonne in Paris and also has an MA from Sofia University. 

AUBG has had a profound impact on Velkova, who met her husband at the university and whose brother is also a student here. She says that she would recommend it to young people in Bulgaria because “AUBG is by far the best university in the region.”

Excelling Bulgarian AUBG alumni who have been admitted to a top 20 U.S. institution are eligible to apply for a Tchaprachikoff scholarship. The scholarship covers a portion of students’ graduate study costs and is funded by the bequest of Anna Tchaprachikoff, a patriotic Bulgarian who believed that investing in education is the best way to contribute to Bulgaria’s development.

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